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Governor Albert Waller Gilchrist

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Office Dates:  Jan 05, 1909 - Jan 07, 1913

Born:  Jan 15, 1858

Passed:  May 15, 1926

Birth State:  South Carolina

Party:  Democrat

School(s):  Carolina Military Institute, U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Military Service:  National Guard


ALBERT WALLER GILCHRIST, Florida's 20th Governor, was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, on January 15, 1858. For two years he attended the Carolina Military Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in 1882, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served in the Florida militia as a brigadier general until 1898, and then joined Company C, of the 3rd U.S. Volunteer Infantry, serving in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Gilchrist entered politics in 1893 as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1895, 1903, and 1905, when he also served as speaker of the house. On November 3, 1908, he won election to the governor's office, and on January 5, 1909, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, the Montverde Industrial School was founded, several new counties were created, and, after eight years of effort, the overseas railroad was finally finished, linking the mainland with Key West. Governor Gilchrist endorsed legislation that produced a tuberculosis sanitarium, a pure food law, healthier conditions for state prisoners, and a hospital for impoverished crippled children. After leaving office, Gilchrist ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1916, and he served as a delegate to the 1924 Democratic National Convention. Governor Albert W. Gilchrist died on May 15, 1926, and he is buried at the Indian Springs Cemetery in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Sources:

Florida State Archives

Museum of Florida History: Florida Governors' Portraits

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Florida State University Strozier Library – Special Collections